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Abstracts from the

Journal of Public Transportation

Volume 9, No. 3, 2006 

Bus Rapid Transit in Australasia: Performance, Lessons Learned and Futures

Professor Graham Currie, Institute of Transport Studies, Monash University


This paper presents a review of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems in Australasia. It describes the major systems operating in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney, outlining their infrastructure, operations and development characteristics. The performance of these systems in terms of patronage, markets, operations and overall urban development impacts is described. Lessons learned in their implementation and operation are also reviewed. The paper concludes with an outline of future prospects for BRT development in Australasia and a discussion of the major findings of this review. Full text (pdf)

Bus Rapid Transit Plans in New York’s Capital District

Stephen Falbel, Pilar Rodriguez, TranSystems Corporation
Herbert Levinson, Transportation Consultant
Kristina Younger, Capital District Transportation Authority
Sandy Misiewicz, Capital District Transportation Committee


The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) is seeking to implement Bus Rapid Transit service in the NY 5 corridor, which runs for 16.5 miles between Albany and Schenectady. The benefits of BRT will be to improve service for current riders, draw new riders to the system, help spur economic revitalization in the corridor, provide key nodes for new development, and improve the image of transit in the Capital District as a whole. When fully in place, the key features of BRT on NY 5 will include limited-stop service, substantial passenger facilities and amenities at each station, real-time passenger information, improved pedestrian environment, park-and-ride opportunities, priority treatment at intersections, queue jumpers at key points, off-vehicle fare collection, and a specific brand image to distinguish BRT from other bus services. The cumulative impact of these types of improvements—in travel time, passenger comfort, passenger information, and image—will lead to an increase in transit ridership in the NY 5 corridor. Based on experience at other North American transit agencies that have implemented BRT, an increase of 22 percent to 29 percent is expected, depending on the ultimate travel time savings that is achieved.  Full text (pdf)

Analyzing the Impacts of Vehicle Assist and Automation Systems on BRT

Matthew Hardy, Susannah Proper, Mitretek Systems


This paper summarizes research that was conducted to develop an analysis framework with which to analyze the cost effectiveness of implementing Vehicle Assist and Automation (VAA) applications, a category of Intelligent Transportation System technologies, in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems. Seven typical BRT operating scenarios were developed based upon the Federal Transit Administration’s Characteristics of Bus Rapid Transit for Decision-Making report. The seven scenarios are representative of BRT service throughout the U.S. and are used to demonstrate which VAA applications will be cost effective within the context of real-world operating environments. The analysis examined overall benefits in terms of increased operating speed and reduced travel time compared to the cost of deploying VAA. Based upon the analysis framework, most of the operating scenarios show positive benefits over the life of the technology. The analysis also showed that deploying applications together (e.g., precision docking plus vehicle guidance) provided greater benefits since both applications use the same vehicle-based equipment. National impacts of implementing VAA applications were also analyzed based upon 75 BRT systems throughout the United States. Full text (pdf)

The Issues and Realities of BRT Planning Initiatives in Developing Asian Cities

Moazzem Hossain, Transportation and Logistics Program

Malaysia University of Science and Technology (MUST)


Successful Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) planning initiatives in Latin American cities involved complex interactions among stakeholders, politicians and planners. Asian cities under different geo-political settings may not be able to achieve successful BRT planning initiatives under similar circumstances. This paper reviews the recent mass transit planning initiatives, especially BRT planning initiatives, in Asian cities and identifies the issues and realities of such initiatives in different regions of Asia. The prospect, suitability and importance of BRT as a sustainable mass transit system for Asian cities are also discussed. Guidelines are suggested for probable successful BRT planning initiatives under different geo-political contexts of Asian cities. Full Text (pdf)

Issues and Technologies in Level Boarding Strategies for BRT

David Kantor, Gregg Moscoe, and Cliff Henke, WestStart-CALSTART


A variety of advanced docking technologies are now becoming available. However, some cities are still choosing low-tech alternatives over effective and more expensive new technologies that are well-proven elsewhere in the world. As a preview of an upcoming WestStart-CALSTART white paper, this report roughly surveys various technologies and strategies to achieve level boarding, as well as the legal and operational rationales for employing them, the policies supporting or impeding these strategies, the technology choices various cities have made, and why some cities have decided to forgo an advanced technology solution in favor of one focused on management strategies. Where available, operational experience will be provided, as well as a comparison of implementation costs. Examples are drawn from both domestic and international applications. The upcoming WestStart-CALSTART white paper will discuss all of these concepts in the appropriate depth. Full text (pdf)

An Evaluation of Comprehensive Transit Improvements— TriMet’s Streamline Program

Peter Koonce, Paul Ryus, Jamie Parks, Kittelson & Associates, Inc.

David Zagel, Young Park, TriMet


Transit performance is influenced by a variety of factors in an urban environment. Making transit more convenient and competitive with automobile travel is a key objective for the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet). TriMet’s goal is to have a “Total Transit System” that makes transit an attractive choice for riders. Portland’s Streamline program has been a significant effort toward meeting these goals. The program has resulted in operating and capital cost savings for TriMet by delaying the need to add more buses to the fleet as well as operating savings due to reductions in running time variability. Further, the way the program was implemented resulted in a greater increase in ridership than would have been achieved had the service increases been spread more evenly around the system, confirming that the BRT approach serves transit agencies effectively by concentrating improvements on corridors.  Full text (pdf)

Simulation of Transit Signal Priority Using the NTCIP Architecture

Hongchao Liu, Texas Tech University
Alexander Skabardonis, Meng Li, University of California, Berkeley


Transit Signal Priority (TSP) is an important element of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that involves coordinated efforts between transit vehicle detection systems, traffic signal control systems, and communication technologies. Successful deployment of TSP requires thorough laboratory evaluation through simulation before field implementation. This paper presents the development and application of a simulation model specifically designed for the design and evaluation of TSP systems. The proposed simulation tool models in detail all the TSP components in accordance with the National Transportation Communications for ITS Protocol (NTCIP) standard for TSP systems. The study is intended to shed light on how the variety of TSP elements can be addressed in microscopic simulation in a structured and systematic fashion. Sample applications of the model on a real-life arterial corridor in California demonstrate its capabilities and features. Full text (pdf)

Impact of Bus Priority Attributes on Catchment Area Residents in Dublin, Ireland

Simon McDonnell, Susana Ferreira, and Frank Convery, University College Dublin


In many jurisdictions, political and infrastructural restrictions have limited the feasibility of road pricing as a response to urban congestion. Accordingly, the allocation of dedicated road space to high frequency buses has emerged as a second-best option. Analyses of the evidence emerging from this option emphasize the engineering and technical issues and do not systematically interrogate the customers, those in the bus catchment area that use or could potentially use the service. This paper attempts to correct for this asymmetry in focus by analyzing characteristics and preferences of users and non-users through a survey of 1,000 households for a particular quality bus catchment area in Dublin, Ireland. Preliminary findings are encouraging, both for the use of this policy instrument as one which can yield considerable consumer satisfaction, and in terms of modal share analysis, especially because the corridor under scrutiny represents a much higher socio-economic profile than Dublin or Ireland as a whole. Full text (pdf)

An Update on Curb Guided Bus Technology and Deployment Trends

David Phillips, TranSystems Corporation


The first Curb Guided Bus (CGB) route opened in 1980. Although initial introduction of this technology was slow, six routes have opened since 1998, and more are in the works, mostly in the U.K. This paper presents a comprehensive review of the technology and its deployment. Full text (pdf)

Microscopic Simulation Approach to Capacity Analysis of Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

Abdul Jabbar Siddique, Ata M. Khan, Carleton University


While a transitway can be built as an access-controlled, two-way rapid transit facility outside the Central Business District (CBD), in the CBD, initially, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service has to be based on exclusive bus lanes due to right-of-way, monetary, and other constraints. The strategy of providing Bus Rapid Transit on exclusive bus lanes in urban corridors is receiving policy attention. However, detailed studies on exclusive bus lane capacity for BRT operation in the CBD of a city have been scarce. In this research, using NETSIM as a microsimulator, BRT corridors in Ottawa (Canada) were investigated in terms of their capacity to handle high volumes of transit buses. For these corridors, scenarios incorporating 2021 traffic were analyzed for choke condition and the results were compared with the base case condition representing year 2001 traffic environment. Based on the results of network performance, conclusions were drawn on the capacity of BRT corridors. Full text (pdf)

Ex-Ante Evaluation of Exclusive Bus Lanes Implementation

D. Tsamboulas, National Technical University of Athens


This article presents a comprehensive approach for the ex-ante evaluation and the identification of relevant impacts related to the implementation of Exclusive Bus Lanes (EBL). It proposes indicators to measure the impacts related to key stakeholders: public transport operators, taxis, private vehicle drivers and passengers, as well as society regarding energy and the environment. Impact values are estimated from the application of relevant transportation planning models. The ex-ante evaluation method is based on cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and is designed to assist any decision regarding implementation of EBL by determining whether it is beneficial. To demonstrate the capability of the approach, a numerical application is provided for an area in Athens where EBLs were introduced to accommodate traffic for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.  Full text (pdf)

The Potential for Bus Rapid Transit to Reduce Transportation-Related CO2 Emissions

William Vincent, Lisa Callaghan Jerram, Breakthrough Technologies Institute


This article examines Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as a near-term strategy for reducing CO2 emissions in a typical medium-sized U.S. city. The paper compares the expected CO2 emissions from three scenarios to meet the city’s growth in work trips by 2011: a no-build option that relies upon private automobiles and a diesel bus fleet; building a light rail (LRT) system; and building a BRT system using 40-ft or 60-ft low emission buses. The paper calculates a CO2 emissions inventory for each scenario and finds that BRT offers the greatest potential for greenhouse gas reductions, primarily because BRT vehicles generally offer lower CO2 emissions per passenger mile than LRT. Lower capital costs for BRT infrastructure would enable cities to build more BRT than LRT for a given budget, increasing opportunities to shift commuters to public transit. Further study to enhance a methodology to estimate expected CO2 reductions with BRT would be valuable. Full text (pdf)

Calibration of Vissim for Bus Rapid Transit Systems in Beijing Using GPS Data

Liu Yu, Beijing Jiaotong University
Lei Yu, Texas Southern University and Beijing Jiaotong University
Xumei Chen, Beijing Jiaotong University
Tao Wan, Beijing Jiaotong University

Jifu Guo, Beijing Transportation Research Center


Bus Rapid Transit systems have grown in popularity in recent years. With the rapid development of computer technologies, using microscopic simulation models to study various strategies on planning, implementation and operation of BRT systems has become a hot research area in the field of public transportation. To make the simulation models accurately replicate field traffic conditions, model calibration is crucial. This paper presents an approach for calibrating the microscopic traffic simulation model VISSIM using GPS data for application to Beijing BRT systems. The Sum of Squared Error (SSE) of the collected versus simulated vehicle speeds at the cross-sections along the test route is specified as the evaluation index. A Genetic Algorithm is adopted as the optimization tool to minimize the SSE. Taking the Beijing North-South Central Axis BRT Corridor as a case study, it shows that the proposed approach is a practical and effective method for the model calibration. Full text (pdf)

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